Mosaic / Music / Reviews / October 26, 2011

Knox-Galesburg Symphony shines

With a soloist that could seemingly throw tackles on the football field just as easily as perform on the stage, The Knox-Galesburg Symphony kicked off their 60th season with a virtuosic performance by John Urness.

Saturday’s concert started with a world premiere by Octavio Vazquez. “Galician Folk Dances” mixed a variety of sections with subtle moments of Gaelic flavor, helping overcome an disjointed feeling throughout the piece.

For senior Edward Davis, the first song was different than what the symphony normally plays. “It started out kind of strangely and then it built on itself,” Davis said.

The trumpet concertos performed by Urness were highlights of the night, with the first by Alexander Arutiunian having a more modern flair and the Guiseppe Tartini concerto having a clear Baroque feeling.

The brass section and the solo work by Urness allowed the “Trumpet Concerto in A-flat Major” by Arutiunian to be driven by the brass section instead of the strings, which have provided drive in the pieces the symphony normally plays.

“Hearing a piece with the [box trumpet Urness was playing] was really refreshing,” freshman Peter Buiting said.

The “Trumpet Concerto in D Major” by Tartini brought in multiple movements with a variety of speeds, many technical solo runs and a partial orchestra that allowed Urness to shine with his unorthodox trumpet.

After the two solo pieces by Urness, the crowd gave him and the symphony a standing ovation and sporadic cheers of “bravo” to finish off the first half of the concert.

After the intermission, the symphony started with a fresh arrangement by Professor and Chair of Music and Conductor of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Bruce Polay of “The Knox Hymn,” normally sung at the end of a performance by the Knox College Choir (KCC).

“It was disappointing since I wasn’t singing, but it was great. It had a lot of Bruce Polay spice to it,” senior and KCC member Nathaniel Beck said.

While the arrangement failed to bring goose bumps like a room full of singing choir members and alumni might, it still was a fresh take to the Knox classic. It was something appropriate for a movie, a retelling of the settlement of Galesburg and Knox College.

The final piece of the night was the “Russian Easter Overture” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

The “Russian Easter Overture” started slowly and struggled to gain energy until well through the piece. The placement of the Korsakov piece left a strange feeling throughout most of the piece, and it would have likely been better enjoyed before “The Knox Hymn,” leaving the hymn to finish off the concert in style.

Overall, the concert was well-received by members of the audience, including those who have seen many symphony performances as well as fresh faces to the Orpheum Theatre.

“It was amazing … It was very nostalgic and made me a bit homesick,” sophomore Caitlin Stone said.

“[The pieces] all have their own great parts,” Buiting said, struggling to find a favorite piece of the night during his first trip to the Knox-Galesburg Symphony.

John Williams

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